Lonza Invests to Develop Exosomes for Next-Generation Life-Science Applications

May 16,2017
  • Lonza has acquired HansaBioMed Life Sciences and has invested into Exosomics Siena to develop next-generation research, therapeutic and diagnostic applications based on exosomes
  • Exosomes technology will leverage Lonza’s portfolio of drug discovery products, as well as its development and manufacturing expertise in mammalian cell culture

Basel, Switzerland, 16 May 2017 – Lonza, a global leader in the field of biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing, announced today the acquisition of HansaBioMed Life Sciences OÜ (HBM-LS), based in Tallinn, Estonia, a start-up company dedicated to the research and development, manufacturing, and distribution of products for the exosomes research market. Lonza has also agreed to make a strategic investment into Exosomics Siena S.p.A. (Exosomics), an Italian start-up company developing exosome-based early-stage cancer screening and molecular diagnostic tests.

Exosomes are nano-sized vesicles released by all living cells in a finely regulated manner. They are found in biological fluids and contain genetic material, proteins and other cellular molecules reflecting the characteristic of their cells of origin. Functioning as nano-bullets with multiple surface receptors for crossing biological barriers, tissue targeting and delivery of bioactive molecules, they have the potential of being developed for various applications in life sciences.

Exosomes’ acknowledged role as effectors in tissue regeneration, immune response and inflammation shows their potential as the next generation of vaccine development, drug delivery and off-the-shelf, cell-free regenerative therapies.

“Exosomes represent a dynamically growing segment in life sciences with opportunities in research, diagnostics and therapeutic applications,” said Dr. Uwe Gottschalk, Chief Technology Officer for Lonza Pharma&Biotech.

“Exosomes may play an important role in the promising field of liquid biopsies and could become the next generation of cell-free therapies in regenerative medicine," he added.

"With our financial support, technical and commercial expertise, Lonza is well suited to leverage these opportunities through HBM-LS and Exosomics.”

Dr. Antonio Chiesi, managing director of HBM-LS and Chief Executive Officer of Exosomics, said, “The next step in the evolution of exosome technology into diagnostics and therapeutics is the development of larger-scale procedures for isolation, purification and characterization of specific types of exosomes. Cell-culture capabilities are a critical component of this next step. Lonza’s infrastructure and leadership role in bio-manufacturing, combined with our exosome knowledge, will accelerate the availability of these breakthrough modalities.”

As a new part of Lonza, HBM-LS will continue its product portfolio expansion of research products and support the development of cGMP-compliant exosome manufacturing processes. Lonza’s investment in Exosomics will help to support the continued research, development and pre-commercialization of non-invasive, exosome-based liquid biopsy cancer-screening tests.

Behzad Mahdavi, Ph.D., MBA, Vice President of Strategic Innovation & Alliances for Lonza Pharma&Biotech, will be an active member of the Exosomics Board of Directors and will help the company with its strategic market positioning and growth.

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